By Samantha Davis, Richmond Immigration Lawyer
On April 22, 2020 Donald Trump signed a proclamation suspending and limiting the entry of certain immigrants into the United States. The order became effective at 11:59pm EST April 23, 2020 and will last at minimum 60 days.
Who is impacted?
Foreign nationals who are outside of the United States, do not have a valid immigrant visa and do not have a valid, official travel document (transportation letter, boarding foil or advance parole document).
How does this impact my application?
If your case is one that is affected, the case will not be processed while the proclamation is in place. However, routine services at all U.S. embassies and consular posts have been suspended as of March 20 due to Covid-19 concerns anyway. The U.S. border with Canada and Mexico remains closed until at least May 20. Once the consulates reopen and once the proclamation ends, there is a chance that immigrant processing times may increase due to the build up of cases.
Who is NOT impacted?
If you are currently in the United States, have an approved immigrant or have a valid travel document you are not impacted by this proclamation. Additionally, foreign nationals seeking entry into the US on a nonimmigrant visa are not impacted at this time. Nonimmigrant visas are issued to foreign nationals seeking to enter the US on a temporary basis for tourism, business, school and certain types of work. For example, F-1, H-1B, L-1, TN, E-3, O, P, etc.
The following categories are exempt from the proclamation:
- Individuals seeking asylum or refugee status
- Lawful permanent residents (green card holders)
- Individuals, and their spouses and children, seeking to enter the U.S. on an immigrant visa as a physician, nurse, or other healthcare professional; to perform medical research or other work essential to combatting COVID-19 (determined by DHS and DOS)
- Individuals applying for a visa pursuant to EB-5 immigrant investor visa program
- Spouses and children under the age of 21 of U.S. citizens, including prospective adoptees on an IR-4 or IH-4 visa
- Individuals who would further important U.S. law enforcement objectives
- Members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their spouses and children
- Afghan and Iraqi nationals who were translators/interpreters or employed by the U.S. government and their spouses or children seeking entry pursuant to a Special Immigrant Visa
- Individuals whose entry would be in the national interest (as determined by DHS and DOS)
Additionally, PERM Labor Certification Applications and I-140 petitions will continue to be processed. Likewise, other applications and petitions that are processed within the US (family-based cases such as I-130/I-485 filings, H-1B transfers, extensions, etc) are not affected.
The initial order is valid for 60 days, but it can be extended. While the order is still valid, members of the administration will recommend whether the President should extend or modify it. Additionally, within 30 days of the effective date, DOL, DHS & DOS will review nonimmigrant programs and offer the president recommendations on whether other measures need to be taken in order to accomplish the economic goals of the proclamation.
We are closely monitoring the situation and will update our clients as soon as we know more about the implementation of this proclamation.
We are here to help you navigate the immigration maze with peace of mind and confidence. Contact Sumner Immigration Law to set a consultation to create your strategy today! We are immigration lawyers in Richmond, VA but we serve clients throughout the US and around the world. You can call us at 804-396-3412 or send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to hearing from you.